Fritz Wolff

Fritz Wolff

Gustave Frederick “Fritz” Wolff III

Gustave Wolff Obituary

Obituary published on by Care Cremation & Funeral Service – Eastland Drive on Jan. 16, 2024.

Gustave Frederick (Fritz) Wolff III, 82, of Lexington, Kentucky passed away on January 12, 2024 with his children by his side.

He was born in Madison Wisconsin on June 8, 1941 to Gustave Frederick II and Elizabeth (Geraldine Utter) Wolff. Fritz’s great grandfather immigrated from Germany. Fritz was very proud of his German heritage.

Growing up in Madison, as a child Fritz would often work at the family hardware store of Wolff, Kubly, and Hersig Company. It was there that he learned the art of selling. Fritz graduated in 1959 from Columbia Military Academy in Columbia, TN and then earned a degree in Art (ceramics) from Northland College in Ashland, Wisconsin. During his time in college, he was an apprentice under world famous ceramicist, Robert Eckels.

Fritz married Karin Anderson in 1966. They were married for 30 years until her passing from cancer in 1996. Together, they had three children.

In 1974 Karin and Fritz moved from Madison, WI to Lexington, KY where they opened the Stone Fence Gift Store which later grew to 5 stores. Fritz was both an entrepreneur and artist. In the 1980’s he founded the Wimbledon Doll Collection which imported collectable ceramic dolls from Taiwan. Fritz was a pioneer in manufacturing and importing items from China.

In his sixties, Fritz reinvented himself and became a full-time pottery artist. Fritz loved working in his studio, traveling the country, meeting people from all walks of life, and selling his pottery.

Fritz enjoyed a good meal, a scotch, and “holding court” with whomever would listen to his stories, which he often embellished. He liked a good joke and the more inappropriate the better!

Fritz is survived by his daughter Gretchen Wolff Shearer of Harrodsburg, KY, his daughter Erika Wolff Hays (George) of Brentwood, TN, his son Franz Frederick Wolff (Melanie) of Lexington, KY and his grandchildren – Cooper Shearer, Cade Shearer, George Hays, Cassidy Wolff, Hayden Wolff, and Kennedy Wolff. Preceding him in death were his wife, parents and sister, Virgilia Wolff Mercer.

Per Fritz’s request, there will be no funeral service. A cocktail party to honor Fritz will be held at a later date.


Added by Franz Altpeter:

 Fritz’s obituary mentions his Wimbledon Doll Collection.  In his 20+ years in the doll creation business Wimbledon became a well-known brand in gift stores throughout the country.  He developed several collections within the Wimbledon label. One of the most popular was Wimbledon Mikey’s Out. These dolls are still available on the internet.  Google “Wimbledon Doll Collection” and” Wimbledon Doll Collection Mikey’s Out” to view some of the dolls.

 In the second half of his career Fritz changed from dolls to pottery. In the following video, Fritz describes the blend of artistry and practicality that marked his life’s work:




Fritz Wolff

Received July 13, 2010 


Fritz studied at Northland College and at the University of Wisconsin. He apprenticed under world famous Ceramicist Robert Eckels. Fritz started his own businesses, The Wimbledon Collection and Stone Fence, in 1970. The Wimbledon Collection and the Stone Fence are known world wide for excellence in design and quality.

Fritz’s work includes high quality porcelain dolls. He has received many of the top design awards in the world, several times over. Hand made glass and steel works, and table top accessories are other areas in which he has become famous. Now in semi-retirement, Fritz is concentrating on his hand thrown stoneware. Unique design and high quality continue to be his hallmark.

June 2015

Wisconsin High School
55th Reunion – July 24 – 25, 2015

For an update on Fritz, he says:  Please go on my website and you will find out what I am up to these days.